For it is not called Bastille Day in France. Trivia for you.
So, today I got really drunk, smoked crack, got pregnant, and ran through the streets of Paris naked. Didn't go too crazy like I promised, Ma!
Actually, I got up early-- way too early-- and I watched the parade, which featured all manner of military folk, including les pompiers. Yes, in France, firefighters are part of the military. It also featured tanks, jet formations, a blue white and red ribbon in the sky, singing sailor in funny hats, and a building wearing a sash like a person. And an army man who falls off his motorcycle while standing still.
Plus, there's a branch of the military that has skis. If ever I need to join the military, I'm going with the Ski Bunnies, or whatever they call themselves to preserve their dignity. Good exercise, great views, and hot chocolate by the fireplace after a long day.
Then I got some food and went to the Champs de Mars, where I tanned fifty feet from the base of the Tour Eiffel. And, yes, by tanned I mean burned. But seriously, I would fall asleep in the hot afternoon sun, a French "Marie-Claire" on my stomach, and wake up staring at the top of the Tour. How good is my life? (But really, remind me to get aloe vera tomorrow. I better have a sick tan after this.)
Then, it was a waiting game, as people filled the Champs de Mars waiting for 22:30, when the fireworks would start. Let me take this moment to mention how much I love fireworks. And crowds of people waiting for fireworks are almost as fun. A pair of beurs (that is, French people of Algerian descent) brought instruments and played rai, which has a very cool Middle Eastern feel. Three African men played drums, and two drunk Brazilian men danced wildly in the dirt, yearning for the applause of the masses. American kids revelled in the sights, squeeling "Oh my God. I can't believe I'm by the Eiffel Tower drinking Orangina on Bastille Day!"
Meanwhile, I ...fluctuated. I alternately people-watched, occasionally making awkward eye contact, and read, keeping to myself. I put down my Leroux book to ask an American couple to watch my bag while I got water, but later denied my ability to speak the language to avoid talking to con artists. They don't notice that I'm reading Middlesex.
As time crawled by, the crowd became more excitable. Cheers erupted when it got dark enough for the Tour Eiffel to light up. Then when it hit 22:00.... my god. 20,000 special-occasion lights began to sparkle, possibly causing seizures in small children, but mostly delighting the disco ball fanatic in us all. I don't know that I've ever seen anything so beautiful in my life. The lights danced in the nearby windows.
And then the fireworks. My god, the fireworks! They were set to classical music and super-coordinated with colored smoke and everything. Then at one point the whole Tour Eiffel was lit up bright pink. It was amazing.
Then, on the way back to my place, I got my favorite cat call of the day. A group of homeless guys were having a party down by the Seine (homeless party!), and I as I walked by, I got a "Bravo!" followed by "I like it like that!" That's right. Homeless guys like me. I'm that hot.